House search

I already wrote about the mice in our current house. We’ve also had an electrical fire (turned out to be very minor THANK GOODNESS, though no less scary) and broken glass that was in the yard when we moved in, which the management company never had cleaned up, in spite of promising for 9 months that they would. We eventually cleaned up the glass, and the outlet that caught fire was replaced, but coping with the poor to non-existent communication that has underscored our entire lease term has been pretty terrible.

Our initial lease term was scheduled to end at the end of July, but I’ve been on the lookout for something else since the electrical fire in November. We also considered buying a rundown duplex in our neighborhood as an investment strategy (live in one half and rent the other), but that didn’t end up making any sense. Someone did buy that duplex though, and on dog walks and on my way to yoga, I’d been peeking in the windows and monitoring the renovations that whomever had bought it seemed to be doing. Last Sunday, I decided to put a note on the door of the duplex introducing me, Hubs, and our pets and asking if the duplex owner needed any renters. He called me back within an hour and invited us to come look at the duplex he was redoing, as well as at a nearby triplex he was renovating also.

Well, we loved the triplex and the price is right (it will save us probably $500 a month in rent and utilities), so we’ll be moving mid-April. (It’s not yet clear what will happen with our current lease. We are manifesting that someone else will come along to rent the place starting in May, at which point our management company has said they will let us out of the lease.) Until we found the new place, I had no idea how much our sketchy house was stressing me out. Now that I know that it’s settled, I feel so much lighter.

Plus the new space is smaller by probably 700 square feet, which provides an incredible opportunity to simplify. Coming soon: a huge purge accompanied by a garage sale pre-move, and ruthless culling of anything that we don’t absolutely love post-move. I can’t wait!

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Contentment

I confess that the scholarly part of my yoga training—reading and reflecting on yogic texts—didn’t resonate with me at the same depth as the physical practices of breathing, chanting, and moving or as the practice of satsang—discussing yogic philosophy in community—did. During my teacher training, I completed (and even sometimes enjoyed) the assigned readings and wrote reflections, and I am thankful for the intellectual base that I now have for cultivating my own practice and for the understanding of the context of the texts that I am sure makes me a better teacher. But I don’t really ever get the urge to just sit down for some study time with Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras or Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

The beautiful thing about a yoga practice is that sometimes you have a need filled that you didn’t know you had. One of my favorite teachers has been leading us through part of the Yoga Sutras that refers to the yamas (good things we do for other people) and the niyamas (good things we do for ourselves). I always appreciate the teachings around these concepts in a sort of vague, the-class-starts-at-6-am way, but this past Tuesday, her words cut sharply through my early morning haze.

Santosha, one of the niyamas, means contentment. Contentment, my teacher said, can be described as “falling in love with your life,” but not the kind of honeymoon-ish love where all the ducks are in a row and everything seems perfect. Santosha is falling in love with your life in the way that you love a partner or a friend and, in doing so, accept what this person offers every day no matter how well it aligns with your idea of how his/her behavior should look. You commit to finding contentment there regardless. Contentment isn’t a perfect life that’s easy; it’s a commitment to a practice.

Enjoying lately

In weather: spring-like temps and finally gone snow. I feel my shoulders relax (rather than tense against the cold) when I step outside. It’s been cloudy, but at 65 degrees, I can’t be bothered about the sun.

In TV: Friday Night Lights. The whole series is on Netflix, and it’s an amazing combo of real-seeming relationships, poignant musical scoring, and Texas high school football, which takes me right back to my marching band days circa 1999-2003. We are huge fans of Parenthood, which recently aired its evocative final episodes, and a friend shared with me that the two shows share their executive producer/head writer—Jason Katims—and suggested that we might like FNL (thank you!). Hubs and I tried it out on a snow day, made it through 11 episodes in one sitting, and finished season one last night.

In books: I read Wonder this week on the suggestion of another dear friend. This book is quick and emotional juvenile fiction with enough struggle to be believable and enough resolution to be extremely satisfying.

In blogs: Erica at Laddventure has been writing beautifully lately about her and her husband’s journey to adopt from foster care. I’ve been both educated and moved to tears by her posts, and I feel so excited for their family as they move through the process and so thankful that she’s been sharing it with the interwebs.

In podcasts: I regularly listen to podcasts on my bus commute to avoid motion sickness that I sometimes get from reading. My two top podcasts of the moment are:

  • Dear Sugar Radio with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, two writers who have each served as online advice columnist Sugar at The Rumpus and now teamed up to read Dear Sugar letters and give advice in podcast form. The podcast includes literary references, guest advice-givers, and a lovely conversational tone. Strayed also published a collection of her Dear Sugar columns as the fantastic Tiny Beautiful Things.
  • The Girl Next Door Podcast with Erica Ladd (see blogs above) and Kelsey Wharton. These two next door neighbors chat about their lives, and topics range from light (neighborhood news) to weighty (how to know if you want to quit your job). Before I listened to this podcast, I didn’t imagine that I would love it as much as I do. Extremely likeable hosts, well-planned, yet natural conversations, and good sound quality combine to make me download this one immediately every time a new episode comes out.